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Pets, Mediation, Exercise: College Students Need Them All

Anxiety, depression, and stress are huge problems in college students. When anxiety and depression occur it is difficult for students to complete their work and attend classes. While there are many treatments available, we need to see which will be the most effective and efficient. Mismanaged stress can lead to high levels of anxiety and depression. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce stress. Exercise has become an important staple in treating anxiety and depression. Pet therapy has reduced anxiety and depression in other studies. It has been found through multiple studies that virtual therapy and in person therapy have very similar outcomes and virtual therapy is important in the midst of the pandemic. This study examined which virtual therapy technique is best at reducing depression and anxiety in college students. The Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS) was used to assess the depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms of participants both before and after the conditions. There were 3 conditions, pet therapy, exercise, and meditation, each condition consisted of a Youtube video that the participants watched and participated in. All virtual therapy techniques significantly lowered depression scores in the post-test. Meditation improved anxiety scores slightly better than pet therapy and exercise. Each of the virtual therapy techniques significantly improved the stress of the participants. This study is important because college students can not succeed while being weighed down by depression, anxiety, and stress. There are many different directions that can be taken to further this research.

Sarah Passer '23,  Emmanuel Villa '22
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